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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.— A family moving from Orem to Florida made an overnight stop at a motel in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on Monday, only to wake up the next morning to find that their 20-foot U-Haul towing their car had been stolen.
The Romero family was towing a 2008 light blue Kia Spectra with a Utah plate A16 6WJ at the end of their U-Haul.
The police found the U-Haul abandoned in New Mexico Thursday morning and notified Joshua Romero, who, at the time, was driving through Louisiana.
The truck is currently in U-Haul’s possession, Romero said.
U-Haul contacted the family to tell them that the truck had been found and sent them photos of the remaining contents of the truck, which included a few smashed laundry baskets, a few garbage bags of clothing, scattered papers and other items that the family did not recognize to be theirs.
The car the U-Haul was towing was not found with the truck, and the family has not received any information regarding the vehicle.
Romero said he and his wife have not decided if they want to keep any of the items left in the truck.
The U-Haul and car were stolen Tuesday morning around 1 a.m., police said. Romero, his wife and his daughter had stopped in Albuquerque around 9:30 p.m. Monday night at a Days Inn. The family planned to head to Texas the next day.
Romero said he had parked the U-Haul over multiple single-car spaces in the motel parking lot.
At 1 a.m. Tuesday morning, a white car pulled up next to the U-Haul and a passenger got out of the car, as seen in surveillance videos. The person walked around the front of the U-Haul, and within 10 seconds, drove off in the U-Haul.
He said there was no broken glass on the ground indicating a forced entry through the windows.
Romero said the police arrived around 6:30 a.m. Tuesday after that their car and U-Haul had been stolen. The couple was able to get a rental car through their car insurance. However, their U-Haul insurance only covered the U-Haul itself and they did not insure the contents of the truck.
“We’re moving across the country, so that was literally everything we own,” Romero said.
He said the only items that were not stolen were the things they brought up to the motel room with them Monday night: two laptops, a diaper bag and some clothing.
Romero said one of his relatives has set up a GoFundMe account* for his family.
“It’s been amazing to kind of see what people have been willing to donate and comment and really help us out,” Romero said. “It’s been incredible to see that. We feel very grateful and very blessed in that aspect.”
Officer Tanner Tixier of the Albuquerque Police Department said auto theft is a crime the police department is constantly battling in Albuquerque.
“It’s all material things,” Romero said. “It’s all things that can be replaced. We try to lean on family and our beliefs that that stuff doesn’t really matter. My family’s safe, so it is what it is.”
Any information regarding the 2008 light blue Kia Spectra should be given to the Albuquerque Police Department at 505-242-2677.
*KSL.com does not assure that the money deposited to the account will be applied for the benefit of the persons named as beneficiaries. If you are considering a deposit to the account, you should consult your own advisors and otherwise proceed at your own risk.